The Arc celebrates SSI’s 40th anniversary

Published 4:56 pm Saturday, November 3, 2012

This past week, The Arc celebrates the 40th anniversary of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), our nation’s safety net for low-income seniors and people with disabilities.

Forty years ago, many people with significant disabilities — like intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) — who were unable to support themselves with work or savings were forced to rely on a patchwork of state income support programs.

Each state had its own rules for who could get benefits, for how long, and for how much — and not every state offered aid.

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In 1972 SSI replaced a fragmented, woefully inadequate system with a national program offering a minimum monthly income for low-income people with significant disabilities and the elderly. On signing SSI into law, President Richard M. Nixon, said “This legislation once again provides dramatic and heart-warming evidence that America is the country that cares-and translates that humanitarian care into a better life for those who need, and deserve, the support of their fellow citizens.”

In 2012, SSI provides monthly cash benefits to over 8 million children and adults, including many with I/DD.

The Arc knows that SSI is a lifeline for people with I/DD and it’s so much more than dollars and cents. SSI helps many adults with I/DD secure housing to help them live in the community and pay for essentials like clothing, transportation, and utilities.

It helps parents of children with I/DD meet the costs of raising a child with a significant disability, and replaces lost income when a parent must take time off work to help care for a child. Without SSI, many people with I/DD would face terrible consequences including potential homelessness or institutionalization.

As The Arc celebrate SSI’s 40th anniversary, we also call on Congress to keep SSI strong for another 40 years. The Arc is fighting to keep SSI from being cut as part of Congressional deficit reduction efforts, and has many ideas for strengthening SSI, including ways to make SSI work better for beneficiaries who wish to work.

Subscribe to The Arc’s Capitol Insider for updates to learn how you can help make sure that SSI and other vital programs are there for people with I/DD.

Upcoming Events

•Christmas Festival: Friday, Dec. 7 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Event includes, dinner, dancing, prizes, karaoke and more.

•3rd Annual Taste of Mower County: Saturday, April 6, 2013 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Austin Holiday Inn.


Jamey Helgeson is the Program Director at The Arc Mower County and can be reached at or by calling 507-433-8994, Extension 102.  You can also visit our website ( and follow us on Facebook (